Degrease your rim and pads and make sure they're aligned properly (which is never easy with Vs). Wash off with water (no soap or shit), then ride around dragging the brake for about 5 mins. If they're still crap there's either something wrong with your rim or your tektro poor excuse for a brake (I had a pair, and replaced with SD7s as soon as I could), or you can't align brakes to save your life. In which case, get a mate who knows his Vs to do it.
I've had reds on both my bikes (smooth rims all round) for ages now, and they've always been spot on unless it's pissing with rain, in which case, yeah they are crap. But in the dry and even slightly damp, they have bite and hold for days. I've not even got a booster on my stock (there's boss flex, but the brake's powerful enough that it's not an issue).
Oh and here's a simple alignment test: sit on your bike stationary, feet on the floor. Pull the brake lever quickly. If you hear a 'clack' as the pads hit the rim, they're probably pretty well aligned. If you don't, likely you need to break out the allen key.
I was around at the time when everyone bought Saracen X-Ile frames and pimped them up into trials bikes. Back when Pashley had just brought out the 26MHz. We all had bikes with 32T rings and DH bars that you could jump as well as trial (for the record I've built up a Base TA26 along those lines recently; pics on their way, stay tuned). Dayglo yellow maguras were the order of the day in the brakes department, and if your tyres weren't Tioga Factory DHs or IRC Kujos (or later El Gatos), you may as well have gone home. There were a lot of Zaskars and DS1s around that time as well. Montys and Megamos were like rocking horse shit in the UK; if you wanted a mod you had to either spend forever finding one, or special order the Hans Rey GT mod. We could all recite most of the commentary and interviews from Chainspotting word for word. Trials was a lot more closely related to mountain biking in general - we'd be out riding with guys on DH and freeride (which was a new concept back then) rigs regularly.
Things were different back then - the whole tone of the trials community has changed massively, and the riding has come a LONG way...but it was still more fun back then for some reason. Bouncing around on massive bikes and sidehopping OFF stuff.
Mine are on smooth and are spot on for everything except wet riding.
Had em on for...um...18 months or summat? Possibly longer, and judging from the amount of material left, they've probably still got another 18 left in em. And that's on both my work bike and my mod; the work bike gets ridden 10-12 miles every day + trials as well.
OK the Kot forks arrived today. I got the curved ones in silver with V & disc mounts.
So far they feel pretty good; certainly a million times lighter than the original Base forks (the bike actually feels like it wants to stay on the back wheel now, rather than fighting to keep it up...so to speak )
They DO make the bike feel a gnat's tit longer in some weirdass way, but not annoyingly; it feels like the cockpit length has changed a bit, even though technically it hasn't.
I think they are a wee bit shorter than the old forks as well, and also the steering has gone REALLY quick and nippy. It used to feel like something that would be more at home in a bombhole, but now it feels more like a trials-specific machine (at last).
So whichever way you look at it, it's a good upgrade from the old forks. Whether the Echo forks would be better, I can't say.
Either way I'm happy.
At the mo I'm running a stem that's something like 100 x 15 or 100 x 20 I think (can't remember) with a coupla spacers underneath it.
One thing I will say is to be a bit careful putting the crown race on if you do get the Kot forks, mine didn't want to go on straight at first for some reason, despite it being a tapered affair. I had to put a lot more effort into getting one particular side down the steerer.
EDIT: forgot to mention, mine's the £99 TA26 off Tarty, so I'm guessing that makes it a Mk III. In related news, the silver Kot forks are EXACTLY the same finish as the silver Base frame, so they match pretty well if you care about all that malarky.
Citroen LM is what I used to use in my maggies many moons ago (before I got a REAL brake ). I was told it was identical to the "official" maggie stuff. I never had any problems, and yeah, WAAAAAAAY cheaper than what maggie will sell it to you for.
I've done almost exactly what you've suggested with a TA26.
It's got a 32T ring (probly gonna put something a wee bit smaller on soon), with the bash plate bodged out with the aid of a steel plate with 4 holes in it to be big enough. Gears on it, Avid V's front and back. I use it both to ride to work and for trials.
It's the mutt's nuts.
Or will be when I have some forks that don't weigh 50 tons on it.
But bear in mind that I'm oldschool as fook (I'm from the "X-Ile you can both jump and ride trials on" era)